396.1 GE/6–2554: Telegram

Johnson-Chauvel Meeting, Geneva, June 25, Morning: The United States Delegation to the Department of State

top secret

Secto 522. Repeated information Paris 501, Saigon 211. Department—limit distribution. Paris and Saigon eyes only Ambassador and Chargé. I saw Chauvel this morning following his return from Paris. He said Dong, whom he was also going to see this morning, was very insistent on seeing Mendes-France. He also said that in talks at Bern, Chou had suggested meeting “soon” between Mendes-France and Dong. He was going to tell Dong that meeting between Dong and Mendes-France at this time would be unwise, as among other things it would make things more difficult with US and Vietnam. He was going to urge Dong that they get ahead in conversations either at his level or with Colonel Brebisson.

Following are other points I gathered from conversation:

Dong has been very insistent that US, as well as Vietnamese, not be informed of secret Franco-Viet Minh conversations. (Dong‘s idea apparently is that full Franco-Viet Minh agreement will be sprung on US and Vietnam, who will take about a week to decide to acquiesce.) Chauvel has told Dong we are not being informed, but said he will of course in fact continue keep us informed. Therefore requested information this regard be closely held US Government.
Chauvel is using US as lever in conversations with Dong by insisting that France must be able obtain US acquiescence to arrangements.
French position will be: (a) attempt obtain some supervised neutralization of Bishoprics in north which will protect the antiCommunist population against the Viet Minh; (b) agree to give up Hanoi in exchange for complete Viet Minh evacuation of the south; (c) retain an enclave around Haiphong (French continue lay great stress on not permitting any Viet Minh enclave in south and necessity for exchanging something in north to achieve this).

In accordance with Tosec 4781(on which I will comment later today2) made clear to Chauvel we will not participate work of committees in absence of agreement on principles. He expressed great disappointment, saying there would be no point committee if we did not participate.

Chauvel promised set up orderly arrangement so we kept fully and currently informed secret talks through Brebisson or Cheysson and Colonel Dwan.

In response to my question as to whether French had done any work on draft agreement on control, he replied in negative and accepted my offer for Colonel Dwan make available to French experts our experience in Korea on this subject.

  1. Dated June 24, p. 1238.
  2. See telegram Secto 528, June 25, p. 1249.